Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 5603: Summer in Italy, Villa Gioconda
4bed/4bath house near Agropoli, Campania
July 13, 2013, 1 week
We returned for a week stay in Villa Gioconda, and it was even nicer than the first time. It is located in the hills south of Agropoli, above the beautiful Bay of Trentova, blissfully quiet except for the crickets in the fields below. It is just a few minutes downhill to the closest coffee bar, bakery and pizzeria (in the "Moio" neighborhood) and a few more minutes to the town of Agropoli. The beach at Trentova is also only about seven minutes away. While there is a house next door, we never heard or saw anyone there. Views are fabulous!
There is nothing in walking distance as, sadly, the pizzeria we had enjoyed on our first trip here is now closed. However, Agropoli has plenty to offer, and is only about 10 minutes' drive. There is a neighborhood in the hills below with two caffes, a bakery that has bread, cornetti, and some basic groceries, a gelateria, and a pizzeria, about five minutes' drive from the villa. The easiest supermarket is at the highway exit, though there are also plenty of shops and grocers in Agropoli.
A large modern house with a swimming pool, fantastic terraces, and room to spread out. We were there with a friend and her two kids; her husband came for just two nights. There was plenty of space and we never felt "cramped" together. The kids - age 10 and 14 - loved this villa! They liked the pool, of course, but also the different levels of patios where they could play on their tablet, get some sun, or nap in the shade.
There are three bedrooms all with en suite baths upstairs - we took one, the kids took another. Both had balconies that look at the Gulf of Salerno. My friend opted for the downstairs bedroom, which has a half-bath next to it, and another full bathroom downstairs in the "taverna" level. The Taverna is a dream kitchen with a pizza oven, lots of counter space, and an insanely long table - which stays cool even in the heat of the day. There are two single beds down there to accommodate two more people. There is a TV and "hang out" space there, nice for the kids to sit and be on their own when they wanted.
There are terraces on different levels. One feels secluded, shaded by an olive tree. One is covered and right off the kitchen. It was here that we ate dinner each evening, had coffee in the morning and feasted our eyes on the beautiful views - some days so clear we could see the Amalfi Coast, other days bright with heat haze so the distance of sky blended into the sea. There is a fantastic pool with plenty of deck chairs. Flowering plants and greenery enhanced the garden. It is private and very enjoyable.
Furnishings are all in very good shape. There is plenty of lounging space in the living room. I used the dining room as my work space, as I brought along my computer. We ate out on the long table outside. The kitchen also has a nice layout, with a fireplace at one end for off-season stays. There was plenty of cookware and serving dishes, plus abundant dishware and glassware. Knives, as always happens in vacation rentals, are dreadfully dull, but otherwise we had everything we needed to cook and enjoy our meals. My friends are Italian so they brought lots of garden produce and she had planned out meals for the week; we cooked together in the spacious kitchen and enjoyed the evenings together. There is A/C in every room except the kitchen (if I remember correctly).
A nice touch is the robes in the bathrooms, good quality bath towels and even washcloths! Bedrooms have lots of wardrobe space; beds are firm. Everything is decorated nicely. One bedroom is a master suite and very large, with an oval jet tub. Other bedrooms are 'normal' size with en suite baths with shower stalls. The downstairs bedroom is more spacious with a chair for reading, a nice "tucked away" room, as my friend said when she claimed that one as hers. There was plenty of hot water for showers and good water pressure in the bathrooms.
The kitchen is nice and spacious. There was room for us to be in there cooking together, while others sat at the table and chatted while we got dinner together. There was a selection of pots and pans, all the usual utensils necessary, and abundant dishes/glasses. The dishwasher was nice (as we don't have one ourselves! The fridge was big enough to hold all the stuff my friend brought, plus the wine and beer and mineral water. There were freezer packs ready and waiting for our cooler bag when we went to the beach. We cooked full meals without any difficulty. There is an Italian moka pot as well as a drip coffee maker (Bryan shuddered.) A toaster, and an electric water kettle, too.
Problems or Bonuses
The surprise was that a few years after our first booking here, we found the place in very good shape despite seven years of rental and use. The caretaker obviously takes pride in keeping things tidy and tended. We were disappointed that the nearby pizzeria had closed, but it meant that the house was even quieter. We slept very well. We really loved being here, and my friend repeated several times how relaxing it was for her. The only problem, as almost all Slow Travelers will lament, is the knives - pet peeve of many of us!
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We rented through Summer in Italy. I know Luca Trotta and his family and booked it with him personally. Knowing them and the agency, they all speak English very well, provide stellar service, and give full disclosure information and photos on the website to accurately reflect the property.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Yes! I'd recommend it to others. And Yes! I'd stay here again in a heartbeat! This is a great place for a family get-together or a group of friends. It is in the country but close to town; the road is a bit windy and narrow there is a new approach road since our first stay that cuts off some of the confusion.
Things to do in this area
The Baia di Trentova beach was a hit with everyone. We all enjoyed the mix of sandy beach and rocky reef patches at the point where I snorkeled. We found the easier approach to the port area just past the Trentova, making it easier to get to that part of Agropoli. There are a few good restaurants there at the port. The central part of Agropoli was buzzing with life, there a blues concert in the castle one night that was nice. We all trudged uphill twice to the old town, eating pizza up above the port one evening.
Paestum is only about 20 minutes away. We went to Castellabate and the beach at Santa Maria di Castellabate one day, and walked to the lighthouse at Punta Licosa from San Marco. There is a winery near the house, and a couple of others in the general area. Mozzarella and seafood are key culinary items around here! We went to the new Cilento Outlet Mall one morning for a bit of shopping.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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